Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Lightning-quick trio will hound France, says Jones


By Duncan Bech

Eddie Jones hopes to trouble France with the "enormous pace" of England's back three when the rivals clash in tomorrow's Six Nations showdown in Paris.

Mike Brown has been dropped for the first time in Jones' 26-Test reign, making way at full-back for Anthony Watson in a back three that sees the return of Elliot Daly on the left wing.

Daly has recovered from ankle and calf injuries to win his first cap since the autumn and completing the jet-heeled trio that Jones expects to exploit any loose French kicking is Jonny May.

"The three of them are genuinely quick. They have enormous pace but they have got to work together," Jones said. "France score a lot of points through attacking kicks, so we need to counter those and take the opportunities and attack when we get loose ball from them.

"Mike took the news very well, I've been impressed by him. Obviously the players sense selection changes early in the week.

"He's given his best, trained hard and helped Anthony, which is a good sign for the team."

A further development of significance in a side showing five changes, two positional, following the 25-13 loss to Scotland sees the power of Ben Te'o preferred to the quick feet of Jonathan Joseph at outside centre.

"We felt we'd need someone a bit bigger and stronger on a slower track at the Stade de France and this is why Ben Te'o starts," Jones said. "The French play direct and he'll enjoy getting a shot on Mathieu Bastareaud."

Owen Farrell leads England for the first time after Dylan Hartley was ruled out of the penultimate round by a tight calf.

Jamie George, the British and Irish Lions' starting hooker against New Zealand last summer, is given the No.2 jersey while Mako Vunipola has been named vice-captain.

"Dylan started running and we're hopeful he's going to be fit (to play against Ireland)," said Jones. "We are trying to develop a team that's self-reliant and we are moving along that pathway.

"When you have a loss like we had, it accelerates and emphasises the need for that to happen.

"Owen has the respect of the players, he's a passionate player and he'll lead from the front."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph